CBS’s Brady Bunch Reboot is a Bad Idea

The Brady Bunch Hour

Ignoring the terrible track record for Brady Bunch spinoffs and remakes, CBS has announced plans for a Brady Bunch reboot with Vince Vaughn as the executive producer. Instead of Mike being the Brady getting remarried and starting a new family, his youngest son Bobby will take his place. Unlike the original, which ran from 1969-74 and rarely mentioned Mike’s dead wife or Carol’s ex-husband, the new Brady Bunch will feature Bobby ex-wife, his new wife’s ex-husband, and, of course, their children. While the basic premise of the latest Brady Bunch remake sounds decent, connecting the new show to a series that has not been relevant since the 1970s is a bad idea.

Whether it was first run or syndicated, everyone who has been a child from the early-70s onward has found memories of watching The Brady Bunch. Some people related to having a parent remarry and finding themselves with step-siblings. Others knew what the Bradys were going through when their dog Tiger ran away. Young girls were jealous of Marcia when she got to take her idol Davy Jones to the prom because they would never get to meet their celebrity crush, whereas boys wished could be Bobby just so they could meet Joe Namath. The show is clearly stuck in the 70s, but the themes and events are those that every generation of kids either experiences or wishes would happen to them.

The Brady Bunch continues to live on in reruns. No one forgets about the show. You either love it or hate it. Those who love the Bradys consider the bell-bottoms and dated hairstyles to be part of the shows charm. Those who hate The Brady Bunch point out Cousin Oliver, how the show became nonsensical toward the end, and that one episode where the Bradys turned into The Partridge Family.

Despite the world not asking for it, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox have all aired various sequels and movie specials of The Brady Bunch. ABC aired the original show as well as the Saturday morning cartoon The Brady Kids, which ran for 22 episodes in the early 70s and is the only excusable Brady spin-off. The alphabet network also gave us The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, which should have been a warning sign to all future shows and movies featuring the Bradys. This monstrosity, which implausibly had Mike Brady leave his architectural career to pursue music full time with his family, managed to last 9 episodes.

In 1981, NBC attempted to relaunch The Brady Bunch as the TV movie The Brady Girls Get Married, which was broken up into 3 half hour episodes, and its spin-off The Brady Brides. The movie and series had the Marcia and Jan share a wedding, marry men with conflicting personalities, and then have the four adults share a house together. The show centered around Marcia’s uptight husband Phillip Covington III and Jan’s slobby husband Wally Loman annoying each other. Unsurprisingly, no one wanted to see The Odd Couple reenacted with The Brady Bunch gang. Including the split up movie, The Brady Brides only lasted 10 episodes.

Even, CBS tried its hand at a remake of the popular 1970s show. Instead of going the sitcom route like previous remakes, The Bradys was a drama about a family that people watch for their wacky antics. In this show, Mike Brady goes into politics, Jan battles alcoholism, Bobby becomes a paraplegic, and that is just the beginning of the dramatic events that happen to the Brady family. Obviously, the Bradys’ lives are not all fine and dandy. However, the writers laid the drama on very thick. The network combined that with a terrible time slot. The show lasted a dismal 6 episodes.

Aside from networks taking turns reviving The Brady Bunch as a series, there have been three television movies and two theatrical releases. None of which are remembered fondly because they all had ridiculous premises. The TV movie A Very Brady Christmas had the Bradys have the most depressing Christmas ever. Bobby drops out of college, Marcia’s husband gets fired, Alice’s husband Sam leaves her for another woman, and Mike gets trapped in a collapsed building after an earthquake. Merry Christmas everybody!

The next two movies featuring the Bradys were released to theaters. The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel placed the Brady family surround by life the 1990s, but kept them in the 1970s for some bizarre reason. While both films made back their budgets, neither one was critically acclaimed and are thought of as jokes. Who really is going to admit to liking The Brady Bunch Movie? No one. It does not help that the third film in the trilogy, The Brady Bunch in the White House, was aired as a TV movie on Fox because A Very Brady Sequel did so poorly in theaters.

The only Brady-connected TV movie that did not deal explicitly with the Brady characters was Growing Up Brady, which aired on NBC in 2000 and was a slightly fictionalized version of The Brady Bunch‘s behind the scenes happenings. It was based on Barry Williams’ autobiography. Fortunately, it only focused on the original casts behind the scenes antics and did not try to expand upon the Bradys’ story.

Clearly, CBS should not be going ahead with its remake. Is the network purposely asking for failure? There have been so many unpopular remakes, spin-offs, and movies of The Brady Bunch (11, if you were counting) that CBS should have laughed Vince Vaughn out of the room when he proposed a show with a divorced Bobby Brady. Apparently, CBS forgot that it had its own unsuccessful Brady Bunch spin-off 22 years ago. While it is possible for Vince Vaughn’s re-imagining to be a hit, it is also highly unlikely. The Brady Bunch is so iconic that no attempt to recapture the show’s magic has worked and no new attempt will work. The Big 4 need leave The Brady Bunch alone and let it live on in reruns. There is no excuse for CBS or any of the other networks to desperately try to retread the past.

About Allison Lips

I am the Toastmasters District 83 Public Relations manager and President of Freehold Phrasers.

Posted on August 2, 2012, in ABC, Cable, CBS, Classic Television, Comedy, Drama, Fox, NBC, Network Television, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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